LOS ANGELES – Today, leading education, government, business and labor, and civic organizations in Los Angeles have signed onto the new L.A. Compact agreement.
The L.A. Compact is a bold effort to address gaps and opportunities that exist in our education and workforce development systems, and the list of Compact partners is impressive in its breadth. Leaders in L.A. County are committed to continuing and intensifying their collaboration to improve lives from cradle through career.Read more
Reliable and affordable broadband internet access can serve as an engine of economic mobility, educational opportunity, civic engagement and better health care. As our reliance on the internet continues to grow, we are also leaving behind many individuals and communities who have limited or no internet access at all. It is time we eliminate the digital divide.
In August, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved funding for the L.A. County Economic Development Corporation and UNITE-LA to serve as the CPUC's Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortium leads for the L.A. region. Launched earlier this year, the LA Digital Equity Action League (LA DEAL), is an inclusive and collaborative regional broadband consortium employing a community-driven process to assess and address the broadband infrastructure, affordability and adoption gaps that exist in communities across the L.A. region. We can't fully meet our L.A. Compact goals if we don’t close the digital divide, which is why the Compact is joining forces with the LA DEAL to support this effort.
In L.A. County alone, approximately 283,000 households don't have access to quality internet services as reported in the American Community Survey.
LA DEAL is co-led by LAEDC and UNITE-LA, along with a diverse and unprecedented coalition of more than 100 partners from education, government, business and nonprofit sectors working together as community-driven stakeholders committed to eliminating the digital divide in LA County.
Since April, LA DEAL has held a series of sector based convenings and five monthly task force meetings around infrastructure, affordability, digital literacy, devices and policy to understand digital equity challenges within different sectors. L.A. Compact members from the L.A. County Office of Education, L.A. Unified, L.A. Community College District, and Cal Poly Pomona have been involved in the monthly task force meetings, informing the Consortium on the challenges that K-12 and higher education students, families, teachers, and faculty face.
This month the CPUC awarded the LA DEAL a California Advance Service Fund Grant to advance equitable broadband internet service deployment in the LA County region. The LA DEAL Consortium will:
- convene stakeholders from internet service providers (ISP’s), government, business, education, workforce, economic development, health and housing;
- serve as a conduit between L.A. communities, the CPUC, and large and small ISP’s to identify opportunities and barriers to completion;
- pursue additional funding to develop broadband infrastructure; and
- ensure prioritization of broadband deployment in communities with the greatest needs.
In addition to the work specified in the CPUC application, the LA DEAL consortium has active task forces focused on ensuring high-speed internet service rate plans have truly affordable options and are accessible to all, high-quality and culturally appropriate digital literacy is available to all, more people have access to suitable devices to use the internet, and regional policy advocacy centers community voice and digital equity to ensure that L.A. County reaches 100 percent adoption of high-speed internet.
As this work continues, UNITE-LA and LAEDC will work with the L.A. Compact to align efforts and tackle the digital barriers that hinder student achievement and workforce development.
For more information, please contact Amy Cortina Mathias, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, at [email protected].
In July, the L.A. Compact, convened by UNITE-LA, together with the L.A. Opportunity Youth Collaborative, released a case study detailing its efforts to connect foster youth to public workforce programs in L.A. County using a shared referral process across agencies. This brief describes the development and implementation of a process to coordinate and streamline foster youth referrals to workforce programs and includes specific recommendations for process improvement based on feedback from both network partners and foster youth themselves.Read more
The L.A. Opportunity Youth Collaborative (OYC) recently released its 2020 Impact Report, demonstrating the power and impact of more than 100 partners from public agencies, community-based organizations, foundations, young adults and educational institutions working together to improve education and employment outcomes for transition-age foster youth. Key outcomes from 2020 include:
- 68 percent of foster youth high school seniors completed the FAFSA, an increase from 33 percent
- 866 current and former foster youth participated in a paid work experience through L.A. County’s Youth at Work program, an increase of 15 percent
- OYC Young Leaders successfully advocated for $32.4 million in funding for youth housing and employment programs
Read the full 2020 Impact Report.
A comprehensive community schools model can improve student achievement and well-being. It is a framework that has gained traction across the nation and has placed participating schools in a better position to respond to the ongoing challenges caused by COVID-19. In other words, community schools are a catalyst for change, which is why many stakeholders in L.A. County stand ready to see the model expand in the region. Adopting a countywide, comprehensive community schools model is one of the L.A. Compact’s priority strategies, and we are excited to work alongside our partners to make this happen. We have started the year strong with the region’s first community schools convening, co-hosted by The Greater L.A. Education Foundation and the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and the launch of the selection process to identify L.A. Unified’s second cohort of community schools.
On Jan. 29, The Greater L.A. Education Foundation and the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) held its first of several virtual convenings to elevate and expand opportunities for community schools work across L.A. County. The title of the convening - Meeting the Moment: Advancing Equity Through Community Schools - emphasized the important role that community schools play in addressing systemic inequities. L.A. Unified and the L.A. Compact were invited to inform the development of the convening.
Dr. Debra Duardo, L.A. Superintendent of Schools, and Genethia Hudley-Hayes, Education and Social Services Deputy with the Office of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, kicked off the convening with a conversation around the history and future of community schools in the region. Hudley-Hayes shared that she first learned about the value of community schools, especially for marginalized communities, when she was a preschool teacher. She supports a community schools model that focuses on integrated student supports, expanded and enriched learning time, active parent and community engagement and collaborative leadership and practice. She believes we have a shared responsibility to help our students succeed and thrive and pledged to garner the support of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to expand and sustain the community schools movement. Following Duardo’s and Hudley-Hayes’ one-on-one, convening participants learned about leading community school efforts already underway in the region, such as LACOE’s and L.A. Unified’s Community Schools Initiatives.
A few days following the convening, L.A. Unified, with support from UTLA and UNITE-LA, opened its application process for the second cohort of community schools. Schools interested in becoming a community school can apply here until April 9. The district’s Community Schools Steering Committee, which UNITE-LA co-facilitates, will select up to 13 community schools by the end of April. Each school will receive $150,000 for the 2021-22 school year to hire a school coordinator who will work with the school community to conduct a needs assessment and develop an implementation plan. In the following school year, the schools will receive $250,000 to implement the plan developed in year one. The second cohort of schools will join the 17 schools from cohort one in transforming the way they work with families and community partners to provide well-rounded educational opportunities and support for student success. In a few weeks, we will also learn whether L.A. Unified will be a grant recipient of the California Community Schools Partnership Program offered through the California Department of Education. These additional resources would help extend the Community Schools Initiative for another year.
For more information on the L.A. Compact’s Community Schools partnership with L.A. Unified, please contact Carrie Lemmon, Sr. Director of Systems Change Strategy, at [email protected].